Kurdish-led Troops Kick ISIS Out of Raqqa and Raise PKK Flag

Published October 20th, 2017 - 06:01 GMT
U.S.-backed SDF troops have said that newly liberated Raqqa will be decentralized from Damascus (AFP)
U.S.-backed SDF troops have said that newly liberated Raqqa will be decentralized from Damascus (AFP)
  • Kurdish troops have declared victory over ISIS in Raqqa, the capital of the group's so-called Caliphate
  • "We dedicate this historic victory to all humanity," said Talal Sello, spokesman for the SDF
  • The SDF has pledged to hand over control to a civilian council within weeks
  • However, concerns were raised after troops held a PKK flag unveiling in the hours following the victory

 

U.S.-backed SDF troops have said that newly liberated Raqqa will be decentralized from Damascus, just hours after troops were pictured waving a PKK banner in the bombed out town.

The comments come after SDF fighters - many of whom hail from Kurdish militias including the YPG and YPJ declared victory over ISIS in the city which was once the capital of the terror group’s self-styled Caliphate.

"We pledge to protect the borders of the province against all external threats, and we confirm that the future of Raqqa province will be determined by its people within the framework of a decentralised, federal democratic Syria in which the people of the province will run their own affairs," the SDF said in a statement.

Talal Sello, spokesman for the SDF declared victory against the terror group at an official ceremony in the city on Friday.

"We dedicate this historic victory to all humanity," said Talal Sello, spokesman for the SDF.


"We in the general command of the Syrian Democratic Forces announce that we will hand over the administration of the city of Raqqa and the surrounding countryside to the internal security forces in Raqqa," he added.

The Kurdish-led group is set to hand over the running of Raqqa to Raqqa Civil Council in the coming weeks.

"After the end of clearing operations... we will hand over the city to the Raqqa Civil Council," he said.

The news comes just hours after YPJ fighters unveiled a large picture of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan in the center of Raqqa following the city's liberation.

The move spread panic among social media users who feared that the Kurdish fighters might now wish to claim the territory, which is home to mostly Arab residents, as their own.


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